Rotator Cuff Surgery

If your shoulder leaves you in agonizing pain, you could have torn your rotator cuff. It doesn’t always happen with an injury — sometimes it’s just wear and tear. At Olympus Orthopedic Medical Group, you can call or book an appointment online to get your shoulder assessed. When you visit with Oke Anakwenze, MD, you receive a thorough diagnosis and treatment plan. As one of San Diego’s leading orthopedic surgeons, Dr. Anakwenze specializes in rotator cuff repair surgeries, even if it’s a complex case.

Rotator Cuff Repair Q & A

What is the rotator cuff?

Your shoulder moves in any direction because the top of your arm bone (humerus) fits snugly into your shoulder bone (clavicle). These movements are controlled by tendons, ligaments, and muscles. Your shoulder has four rotator cuff muscles. Because all of these soft tissues have to function in a tight space in and around that ball and socket joint, it’s easy to damage any of them.

How did my rotator cuff tear?

Sometimes, muscles, tendons, or ligaments wear down over time, just from constantly rubbing up against your bones. This happens frequently to athletes who constantly use their shoulder, like baseball pitchers. You can even tear your rotator cuff if you have a bad fall, get into a motor vehicle accident, or go through some other kind of trauma to your shoulder.

Will I need surgery for a torn rotator cuff?

It depends on the severity of your injury. For example, if you have a small tear where most of your tendon is still attached, you might be able to recover with just physical therapy or cortisone injections.

But if you have a more severe tear, or if your condition just doesn’t get any better after trying physical therapy, Dr. Anakwenze might suggest having a rotator cuff surgery. Don’t stress if you do need surgery though. Dr. Anakwenze is known for his expertise in correcting even irreparable rotator cuff injuries.

How long is the recovery after rotator cuff surgery?

It takes some time to heal from a rotator cuff surgery — anywhere from one to six months — but you can move your shoulder as soon as you feel ready. Dr. Anakwenze starts you on physical therapy right away, although you do passive stretches initially, where the therapist moves your arm and shoulder for you. It’s common to go through several months of physical therapy after a rotator cuff repair surgery.

Dr. Anakwenze uses the most modern rotator cuff repair methods available, which typically includes arthroscopic procedures. By doing arthroscopic surgery, rather than a traditional open shoulder surgery, he only has to make a few small incisions. Most men and women have less pain and swelling after minimally-invasive arthroscopic shoulder surgeries, making your recovery even quicker.